As the Lakers start packing it in for the year, many are looking at possible solutions that would make the team championship contenders next season. This led Jeff Van Gundy to suggest that the Lakers should consider trading LeBron James to clear cap space.
In the first quarter of the Lakers' losing effort against the Boston Celtics, the coach-turned-ESPN color analyst proposed a scenario where the Lakers sever ties with James in hopes of snagging a younger big-name player during this summer's star-studded free agency.
"To me, it could be a trade for an Anthony Davis, or I think they need to explore trading LeBron for getting as much as they can," Van Gundy said.
The thought of trading one of the best players to ever touch a basketball was a bold statement that was immediately shut down by Van Gundy's co-commentator Marc Jackson. But this didn't stop the former head coach from finishing his take
"You’ve got to get on the right timeline. I’m going to say, if I could trade him for the Clippers into cap space, which would give me a better chance to get Durant or Kawhi Leonard, would I not do that?" Van Gundy asked. "You’ve got to put everything on the table."
This sparked a debate on whether an aged LeBron is still better than a prime free agent. And many, including former Nets' General Manager Bobby Marks, sided with Van Gundy.
Amid the Lakers' struggles, James' season stats show he's still playing at a very high level. Not only has he kept up with his career average in points per game (27.1), but he's also above upped his assists (8.1) and rebounds (8.6). These numbers are among the league's leaders in each category.